The Difference

I was trying to figure out how to put in words the difference between Charlie and a typically developing child his age. There were so many cues along the way, so many little things that stood out to me that other people didn't see. I try to explain that he was slow meeting every milestone and get, "Well, each child develops at their own rate!" in a cheerful voice. I'd explain that he spoke late and didn't try to use words to communicate his needs until he was three and get some story about some kid in the family who talked late and is 'just fine now.'

I know people want to calm your fears and reassure you, but that doesn't help when you know something is wrong with your child.

Charlie talks now, but he doesn't converse. Yes, you can talk and forth about LarryBoy or getting dressed or how many marshmallows need to be in his hot chocolate (aka lukewarm chocolate soy milk). You can ask a question and get an answer, then ask another one, but you can't really talk to toCharlie.

I realized today how to explain the difference between Charlie and everyotherkid. Charlie doesn't ask why. He doesn't ask how. He doesn't ask 'what happens if' or wonder what makes this or that work.

He's three-and-a-half. Every other two or three year old I've ever known has asked 'But, why?' all day long and wanted to understand the world they live in. Charlie does not. He wants to know where he's going and where his stuff is, but isn't aware enough of the world around him to ask why.


Unknown said...

We should talk.

Unknown said...

I wrote you a big long letter on facebook and then it crashed before I could send it. About 8 months ago I met a child with the same type of autism as I have. It was so enlightening. It helped me understand so many of the things people say about me that didn't make sense to me both as a child and an adult until I could see it in someone else. I can't say that bridging this gap in my head between hearing and understanding changed much, because I am still me, but..... being able to talk with people who deal with this first hand.... does good things for me. Gives me those... aha moments. Not that this is even about me. I just... some things people say about autistic people some times I feel are more based on a perception, an explanation the observer concludes about the autistic person as opposed to reality, but that becomes reality because the majority are the non autistic observers with the ability to communicate and decide what is and isn't, and the autistic person doesn't have the ability to communicate the truth inside of them, and/or they don't know it needs to be communicated. Or at least that's how I've felt sometimes about some of the things people have said about me in regards to behaviours I attribute to aspergers. Sometimes I finally "get" something, and then I think, I really didn't know all these years, that's how said action or behaviour appeared. Or maybe.... I'm the wrong one, I just don't realize it, and that's the nature of the beast. Either way, I wish we could... talk. Or write.

Anonymous said...

I could have written your post. My son is 4 and is the same way (sub Larryboy for Cars and marine life). We don't have a diagnosis but does attend a special ed preschool and receives speech, pt and ot. We've seen a lot of progress since he started school in July but he still doesn't converse either. We're waiting for the day when we're not counting his sentences or praising his spontaneous speech because it will be his norm. Thanks for this post, as much as it's hard, it's nice to know there are others out there going through what you're going through.

Kristin said...

My child with Autism will be 7 in about 7 weeks. When she was as old as Charlie, I could have written your post word for word. She talked at you never to you.

The most amazing thing has happened this year, she asks why constantly. She wants to know what will happen next. I'm so incredibly annoyed when my NT kids do it. I have never once been annoyed that she has. It's simply amazing.